[PDF Notes] Get complete information on Romantic Novels

(1) Sir Walter Scott:

As a novelist, Scott is the creator of a world of events and characters. His novels are pieces of reconstructed history, invested with life and flavored with humanity. Scott is the father of the historical novel in the English language. He is the real creator of, as well as the master-artist in this form of fiction.

Scott came to his work as a novelist after achieving popularity as a poet. A lover of nature, of medievalism, of feudalism, and of romanticism, Scott brought to his work as a novelist his entire personality. He blended into a unity fact and fancy, and history and romance. It is true that Scott alters the facts of history and changes the sequence of events in the interest of his art.

With his Waverly (1814), Scott gave birth to a new kind of fiction- the Historical Novel. For nearly twenty years after he published novels in quick succession. Guy Mannering (1815). The Heart of Midlothian (1817), Rob Roy (1818). The Bridge of Lammermoor (1819), Ivanhoe (1820), Quentin Dooryard (1823), Red Gauntlet (1824). The Talisman (1825) are some of his well- known novels.

From Scott’s stray observations in the prefaces to some of his novels like Ivanhoe and Quentin Dooryard, we may conclude that he viewed history as centrifugal and the novel as centripetal. He seems to have regarded history as related to the historical novel in the same way as the architect’s elevation is related to the perspective view of an artist.

(2) Bulwer Lytton:

In Bulwer Lytton’s (1803-1873) novels such as Rienzi Ana The Last Days Pompeii, historical fiction attains maturity. In them we find the historical spirit distinctly guiding the novelist’s art. Bulwer Lytton does not merely gather historical details to give scenery and romantic atmosphere to his novels. He attempts to reconstruct the history of the time completely and to present that history in relation to individual life. In the opinion of Cross no historical novel had has so many readers as The Last Days of Pompeii.

(3) Thackeray:

Thackeray’s Henry Edmond takes the historical novel a stage further. Here we have the imaginative interpretation of history. By allowing such things as conscience, hesitation and doubt, and conflict between love and duty to come into the novel and dwell there side by side with geographical realism.

Thackeray makes the historical novel, the novel, of the soul. In doing this he has completed the works of his predecessors in historical fiction. As Bliss Perry observes: “Scott and Dumas made history the bond maiden of romance; Bulwer made historical investigation the companion of romance: Thackeray made history the master of romance. These are the three stages of the evolution of the historical novel.”

(4) Maria Edge worth:

Maria Edge worth published her first novel Castle Rock rent in 1800, and it was followed by The Absentee and Belinda. Her work has a unique importance in the history of the English novel for she is the founder of the Regional novel in England.

She gives to her novels a local habitation and name, and her characters are conditioned by the fact that they live in a particular locality which has its own traditions and distinctive way of life. Her characters are generally rounded life-like figures which live long in the memory once you are acquainted with them.

(5) Miss Burney:

Miss Burney preceded Jane Austen by several years: her masterpieces Evelyn was published in 1778, when Jane was but three years old; – Cecilia came four years later, and Camilla in 1796, the same year in which Pride and Prejudice was written, though it was not published till 1813. There is no doubt that Jane owed much to her predecessor, but her gifts were far greater. Miss Burney’s cleverness consists in the portrayal of feeling in a young girl’s sensitive mind, her stories are stories of Country life and simple everyday activity.

Miss Burney had her vogue only for a short while as she dealt with contemporary manners. The only one of her novels which is still read is Eve line, but it is not to be compared with any of Jane Austen’s novels, which are for all time. Jane is far ahead of Miss Burney in the field Shakespeare. Jane Austen is also as far ahead of Fanny Burney in the use of simple, direct English as well as she is in construction and effect.

(6) Jane Austen:

Austen’s greatest novels are Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Northanger Abbey and Persuasion (1818), Mansfield Park (1814) and Emma (1816).

Jane Austen (1775-1817) is regarded as modern novelist, for she is the leading exponent of what Robert Liddell calls “the pure novel”, for she delights us by the formal qualities of her composition, by her study of the relation between the characters or of their relation to a central theme.

She has her own interpretation of life to offer, and her matter, her design is always subordinated to this end. She was the last, and the finest flower of that century. But she is entirely free from 18th century sentimentality, indeed sentiment is often the object of her satire. She does not also indulge in the crude horseplay and buffoonery of the 18th century novelist. She does not indulge in any direct moralizing. She uses, irony as her weapon, as the instrument of her comic vision.

The main emphasis in Jane Austen’s works is on manners which she regards an moral in microcosm. The standards by which manners, and morals, are to be judged are both explicit and implicit in her novels. Self-command, a just consideration of others, knowledge of the heart, and a principle of right derived from education, are the standards by which she judge her characters.

Her method of character-delineation is superb, but what gives her characters their value is the fact that it is through them that the novelist presents her view of life which is “a highly serious criticism of life expressed in terms of comedy”. “Comedy deals with the conflict between illusion and reality” and this is also the conflict in the novels of the Jane Austen. She shatters the follies and illusions of mankind and thus makes it know the truth. Overall she was a great novelist of 18th century, distinct from her contemporary novelists and is included under the list of modern novelists.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *